Sunfest ready for business after big move

There’s plenty of excitement surrounding Sunfest this year.

There’s plenty of excitement surrounding Sunfest this year.

When it opens on Thursday, it will do so not at the Cowichan Exhibition grounds where it’s had a home for the last several years, but at Laketown Ranch in Meade Creek.

The new venue boasts a main stage that’s the largest of its kind in Canada.

Organizers have a huge name to christen that big stage: Carrie Underwood.

Even people who aren’t country music fans recognize her.

You’d have to have been living under a rock for the last decade to not have heard of this household name.

As one of the most successful American Idol winners in history, Underwood has put herself on the map of fame and fortune.

The television show alone made her face familiar to millions.

She’s joined for the long weekend by the likes of Chase Bryant, Dallas Smith and Dierks Bentley.

Given this roster of talent, the crowd will inevitably by massive.

Tens of thousands promise to flood into the Cowichan Valley and head up to the Lake for this highly anticipated music festival.

With that many people going to a brand new venue, there will be some growing pains.

Traffic flow will be heavy as Highway 18 gets packed with festival attendees, and local roads in and around the Cowichan Lake communities should expect a lot more traffic than usual.

People are being asked not to clog Drinkwater Road on their way to the Lake, as organizers try to nip any traffic issues in the bud.

There are also logistics involved in feeding and entertaining that many people for four days. People will likely not be spending every minute at Laketown Ranch.

But the pain is worth the reward.

We hope people will hold onto their excitement and goodwill.

All of these people heading into our communities bring with them significant economic opportunity.

Lake communities have spent months planning to take advantage of the tourism boom and have set up everything from markets to a pancake breakfast, an ice cream shop to shuttle buses to give festival-goers a good time during mornings and afternoons.

Duncan and other nearby towns can expect an increase in patrons as well.

So let’s welcome all those big names and their fans to the best community there is.